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Aromatherapy Massage Benefits and Side Effects

Massage is no longer something you would strictly find in a luxury spa or pricey health club. It’s now a service offered in hospitals, clinics, and general businesses. In fact, you can even find some form of massage therapy in airports.

There are several types of massage:

  • Trigger point: Hones in on areas of tight muscle fibers that develop in your muscles due to overuse.
  • Swedish: A more gentle technique that combines kneading, vibration, and long strokes to improve relaxation and boost energy.
  • Sports: Similar to a Swedish massage, but targeted more towards athletes for the benefit of treating various injuries.
  • Deep: Takes a more forceful approach that addresses deep layers of muscles and tissue, oftentimes more serious injuries.

Likewise, aromatherapy is no longer a rare practice used simply for its pleasing scent. Aromatherapy products like essential oils have become a wellness lifestyle that people embrace in their everyday lives.

There are countless types of essential oils, offering a solution for just about any minor ailment. Learn how massage and aromatherapy go hand-in-hand to boost the effectiveness of your sessions.

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Benefits of Massage and Aromatherapy

It’s no secret that massage offers a broad range of health benefits. Massage isn’t just beneficial for injuries and general relaxation. While there is more research expected to confirm the following benefits (and some traditional medical practices are certainly still necessary) countless studies have come out that demonstrate it’s ability to fight issues such as:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain

Aromatherapy is known to enhance these benefits with pleasing scents and a range of therapeutic benefits.

One study put forth by Evidence-Based Complement Alternative Medicine, determined that complementing massage with essential oils affected the central nervous system in a positive way. For example, providing sedation benefits, curbing stress, and improving mood. The study also reported its effect on serious health conditions:

“Clinical trials of aromatherapy on pruritus in patients undergoing hemodialysis and on agitated behavior in dementia patients have also been reported.”

Thanks to all the profound benefits of these all natural products, aromatherapy extends the benefits of massage. And a growing amount of massage therapists have embraced its use. Not to mention, it boosts the efficacy of massage by encouraging relaxation and stress release in the patient.

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What to Expect During a Visit

There’s a good chance your massage therapist already has some essential oils on hand. If you’re already well-versed in the area of aromatherapy, you might bring along your favorite oils or blends.

If you’re not sure what would be the best oil, your therapist will probably be able to decide on one that will best fit your needs.

Before beginning your session, discuss the goals you have for your session, and how your therapist can incorporate aromatherapy to enhance the effects of your massage.

As we’ve noted, there are several different types of massage therapy. Techniques are different and sessions can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half.

Aromatherapy Massage TherapySide Effects of Aromatherapy Massage

Before commencing your aromatherapy massage, be sure to notify your therapist of any allergies or sensitivities you have.

The largest “side effect” of aromatherapy is skin sensitivity.  If you have highly sensitive skin, you may want to avoid skin contact with essential oils altogether. Moreover, some people might have an allergic reaction to certain oils.

However, for the overwhelming number of people, diluting with a carrier oil is all you need to prevent any undesirable reactions.

Another precaution is if you are pregnant. Most oils are 100 percent safe for women who are pregnant, but some physicians will warn against using certain oils throughout a pregnancy.

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What Essential Oils to Use?

No one oil will solve all your health problems. Depending on your goals, it’s important to use the right oil. Here are some suggestions:

  • Stress: Lavender or frankincense
  • Nausea: Lemon or peppermint
  • Flexibility: Rosemary
  • Pain: Peppermint, eucalyptus, or ginger
  • Mood: Orange and geranium

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